With the emergence of Marco Belinelli this season, Jeremy Lamb‘s role has diminished but he is still a valuable asset off the bench for the Charlotte Hornets.
At the point when you may just start to forget about Jeremy Lamb, he fills in for Marco Belinelli and reminds us why the Charlotte Hornets had high hopes for him. After losing the sixth man role to Marco, Jeremy was relegated to the bench and hasn’t been given over 20 in a game in 10 games. With Belinelli out with a left ankle sprain, Steve Clifford was forced to rely on Lamb in the team’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Coach Clifford’s trust was rewarded as the 24-year old scored 17 points in only 22 minutes off the bench. He also shot 50% from the field and 33% from the three-point line. Even though he is sparingly used and can’t manage to find consistency, Lamb is an intriguing and important player for the Hornets this season.
Charlotte lacks athleticism, which doesn’t hurt them as much as you’d think, but Jeremy is the one player who can change a game with his size, length, and athletic ability. He still has some major upside but none of it has come to fruition with the Hornets just yet because of he lacks consistency on both ends and his lackadaisical defending forces Steve Clifford to take him out of games. For the simple reasons of scoring ability and athleticism, Lamb continues to earn playing time and rightfully so as the Hornets desperately need what he brings to the table.
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No matter how many tries it takes, Jeremy will continue to get chances upon chances to succeed. If you remember, the Hornets believed in Lamb so much that they signed him to a three-year, $21 million extension after just two regular season games with the team last year. If he ever figures it out on the defensive side, Charlotte wants to be the team to reap the rewards.
The Hornets and Steve Clifford, in particular, are in a tough situation regarding the former first round pick as his inconsistent shooting and defensive lapses, where he loses his man multiple times a game, has hindered his playing time. Despite those downfalls, Lamb keeps creeping his way back into the rotation with his ability to put the ball in the basket, which Charlotte desperately needs at times. His explosive play keeps fans and coaches wanting more.
Jeremy’s productive outing against the Nets was just another example of how valuable he can be. Lamb’s offense was needed, his athleticism was on display, but he was ultimately taken out of the game in the final minutes in favor for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist because he was struggling on defense and failed to close out hard to his man multiple times.
The full spectrum that is Jeremy Lamb could be seen in Brooklyn.
There’s the good.
Then, there’s the bad where Lamb gets beat on this cut as he gets caught on the half screen by Brook Lopez. This exact play happened at least twice in one game for Jeremy. By no coincidence, this was his last play of the game.
He needs to cut down on these defensive lapses to become a consistently valuable asset for Charlotte. His offensive game is already there and because of that, and his athletism, he will continue to get opportunities. At some point, he will need to take advantage and show that he belongs in the rotation permanently.
Whether or not Lamb ever figures it out in Charlotte or in the NBA remains to be seen. For the time being, he will continue to be up and down with the Hornets but most will be hoping for the former more than the latter going forward. Although he struggles at times, the team needs Jeremy to play at a high-level if they want to be at full strength.